Michelle Neils, BSN, CHC


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Sleep Coaching

Why Sleep Coaching?  Because a good night’s sleep is often hard to come by!  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) an estimated 50-70 million U.S. adults have some type of sleep or wakefulness disorder, ranging from snoring to insomnia to sleep apnea.  Our hectic schedules and constant access to electronic devices don’t help.  Yet sleep is crucial for good health.  A chronic lack of sleep can increase your risk for a number of serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression. Sleep gives the body the downtime it needs to repair cellular damage, help muscles recover, and release hormones regulating growth and appetite.  If sleep has become an occasional, or even a chronic struggle, I truly understand, because I’ve been there, I’m on the other side and I can help you!

I suffered from insomnia for over 17 years.  There were times when I would go for a month or more, getting fewer than 4 hours of (interrupted) sleep a night.  I tried virtually everything and I have learned that there is not just one answer to this complex issue.  With my nursing and nutrition background and my experience as a health coach, along with my compassionate understanding due to firsthand experience, I am uniquely qualified to partner with you and with other health care providers, if necessary.  I will help you get the sleep that you need, so that you can live the life you want to live with all the energy and passion you desire and deserve!

I offer packages ranging from twice weekly sessions for 4 weeks to twice weekly sessions for 12 weeks, depending on the severity of your situation.  If you are suffering from situational insomnia, due to minor stress, you will likely require fewer coaching sessions to resolve the issue.  If, however, you have suffered from insomnia for months or even years, a more intensive and longer program of coaching and very likely working with other health care providers may be necessary to achieve optimum results.

We will cover all the bases, so to speak, to uncover the underlying causes for your sleeplessness.  The possible reasons for your lack of sleep are extremely varied and diverse.  You may have a hormonal imbalance (men as well as women).  You may have sleep apnea and we would enlist the support of your primary care doctor to help with this diagnosis.  You may have a nutritional deficiency or a food allergy that is interrupting your sleep.  And there is the stress factor, perhaps related to your work, a primary relationship, an unresolved mental or emotional trauma, or any other number of other internal or environmental issues.  (This is not an exhaustive list).

Just as with wellness coaching, you will complete an extensive health questionnaire on your own.  In our initial visit, I will cover the questionnaire with you and very likely uncover one or more possible causes for your insomnia.  We will come up with a plan which may involve a visit with your primary care physician and/or a clinical nutritionist and possible lab tests.  At the end of our first session, you will have a few tools to help you right away to manage the stress, fatigue, pain, and/or anxiety that you may be experiencing.

There is hope!  I look forward to serving you on your journey to better sleep and optimal overall health, body, mind, and spirit.  In the meantime, see my “Sleep Hygiene Tips” below for a short list of simple things you can do right now to promote better sleep tonight.

Sleep Hygiene Tips

1. Avoid large meals, alcohol, strenuous exercise, and caffeine (including chocolate) for at least 3 hours before bed. For highly sensitive folks, it’s best to avoid caffeine after about 1:00 p.m.

2. Avoid the computer, TV, iPad, and other electronic devices for at least one hour before bedtime. Not only are these mentally stimulating, but the blue light emanating from all electronics AND electric light inhibits melatonin production. (See “Effects of blue light on melatonin production”)

3. Do your best to keep to regular bedtimes and waking times, even on the weekend. An occasional late night won’t be an issue for the person with occasional insomnia, but for the chronic insomniac, regular daily rhythms are critical. (See “Getting Back to the Rhythm of Nature”)

4. Regular daily exercise (at least three hours before bedtime), yoga, and mindfulness meditation all can help lower stress and lead to a better night’s sleep.

5. A nightly ritual before bed can help you to let go of the day and shift gears into a peaceful physical and mental state to allow you to fall asleep more easily. Examples include journaling, a warm bath, applying essential oils to the bottoms of your feet or on your temples (try Lavender, Sandalwood, Roman Chamomile, or Bergamot), and listening to some gentle, relaxing music for 20 minutes before bed.  Check out the following links for long playing relax/sleep music videos.

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